We recognise that for our pupils to lead happy and successful lives with a broad range of opportunities they must be literate. However, we acknowledge that literacy is not simply ‘ability to read and write’ but goes further. Literacy also encompasses the cultural references pupil need to read widely, the resilience needed to meet the demands of challenging texts in exams and beyond, alongside a vast vocabulary to decode texts and express themselves. Ultimately, we recognise that literacy is a broad term for the multiple skills and knowledge which pupils need to be fluent readers, writers and speakers.
We also recognise that being literate in one discipline is different to another. With this in mind, at HAGR we don’t have a ‘one size fits all’ approach to policy around literacy. Instead, each subject area receive training to design curriculum and lessons which teach the necessary literacy skills to succeed in their discipline. We firmly believe that literacy is not a stand-alone issue: it is a multi-faceted issue with many challenges; it takes excellent curriculum design; excellent teaching and learning; targeted intervention and cross-curricular effort to ensure our pupils have the tools to succeed.
HAGR’s literacy policy has been informed by recent research led by The Education Endowment Foundation’s ‘Improving Literacy in Secondary Schools’, research endorsed by The National Literacy Trust. It is also informed by the work of Alex Quigley’s The Vocabulary Gap, Doug Lemov’s Reading Reconsidered and Daniel Willingham’s The Reading Mind.
The two literacy priorities for this academic year:
- A broad and ambitious reading curriculum at KS3
- All pupils will participate in Morning Readingthree times a week where
- rich texts will be read with their teachers to improve reading fluency and promote reading for pleasure and a culture of scholarship.
- A reading for pleasure programme promoted through lessons, staff, assemblies and Morning Reading will guide students to select books and train staff to advise in children’s literature.
- Increasing the lending of library books through investment in the library paired with introduction of reading corners and areas where students can read outside of one room.
- Provide targeted vocabulary instruction in every subject
- We think hard about the end points for each subject and map out the tier 2 and 3 vocabulary which needs to be specified in curriculum and explicitly taught to pupils.
- Knowledge organisers and curriculum resources develop vocabulary acquisition.
- Continuing to create opportunities for students to voice their ideas beyond the classroom, use a breadth of vocabulary and present themselves in a range of formal settings to develop oracy.
- Prioritise 'disciplinary literacy' across the curriculum.
- Simply put, literacy is not a bolt-on. Instead we think hard about what it means to be literate in each discipline/subject and build the necessary skills into our curriculum. We also recognise the gaps in pupil literacy and continue to develop curriculum to bridge these gaps.
- The teaching and learning blueprint will incorporate high leverage teaching techniques to improve literacy instruction and training will support this
- The curriculum vision incorporates the literacy strategy and training puts the honus on each discipline to create well-designed schemes of work to develop literacy within their subject